Skilled Migration Program - Small Business Owner (SBO)


The SBO is a migration pathway which is getting more and more popular. There are many clients telling us that they have entered into a contract to purchase a small business. They are advised that this will lead to a Australian Permanent Residence (PR) pathway within 6 months of running the business successfully. Unfortunately, it is only part of the story. Therefore, prior to entering into a legally binding contract, it is critical that one must understand both eligible requirements for the visa from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), and the requirements for getting a nomination from the State (or Territory).


Completely distinguished from the Business Innovation and investment visa type - 188/888, the SBO stream belongs to the Skilled Migration Visas subclass 190 or 491. That means in order to secure a pathway to get PR, the applicant must satisfy both requirements of the visa 190 or 491 from DHA, and the nomination requirement from the State/Territory.

The minimum requirement for visa subclass 190 or 491 from DHA:

  1. Have a valid positive skilled assessment for a nominated occupation under the Skilled Occupation List for subclass 190 or 491

  2. Under 45 years old

  3. Have at least Competent English Level (IELTS 6.0 for all bands or equivalent)

  4. EOI points at least 65 (included the additional 5 or 15 points for subclass 190 or 491).

Requirements for nomination from the State/Territory

Each State/Territory has its own requirements to grant the SBO-stream nomination.


Queensland

Queensland is arguably the State that has made the SBO stream become so popular. The State's Migration Program for the this year is currently closed. All information regarding the requirements published on the State's website has been removed. The program is expected to reopen in end of July. Probably, there will be big changes since the State will also their program name to Migration Queensland. In addition to meeting the requirements from DHA for visa subclass 491, the applicant must also satisfy the requirements from the States. Below are summary of those requirements from the last year program:

  1. Purchase a business operating in the regional area of QLD (not Brisbane). The purchase amount must be at least $100,000 based on market price and excluding any investment after the purchase. The business must have been operating for at least 2 years.

  2. Start-up or home-based business will not meet the requirement.

  3. The applicant owns 100% of the business and directly operate the business at least 35 hours per week.

  4. The applicant must have been living in the regional area for 6 months immediately prior to lodging the EOI.

  5. The applicant must be on a visa which has full-time work right.

  6. The applicant must have business management experience, or qualifications that would allow him/her to successfully operate the business.

  7. Prior to the lodgment, the applicant has successfully operated the business for at least 6 months.

  8. The applicant must recruit at least 1 employee who is Australian citizen, Australian PR, or New Zealand citizen. The employment must be at least 20 hour per week. The employee must not be the applicant's family members. Subcontractor is not allowed.

Tasmania

The program of Tasmania state is expected to reopen in July 2021. The State's migration program including the SBO stream is processed on first-come-first-served basis. This means, an applicant, who submits their application while the State still has quota allocated for the migration program, will receive the nomination, provided he/she meets all the requirements from both Tasmania and the DHA. Currently, the SBO stream is only available for 491 subclass, with the basic requirements as follow:


  1. The applicant solely owned the business which has been established and operating in Tasmania for at least 6 months.

  2. Able to prove that the business will help the applicant to gain a personal taxable income of at least $53,900 in 3 out of 5 years (the income threshold may increase in the future).

  3. Able to prove that the applicant understand the requirement and responsibility regarding the employee benefit and salary in accordance with the current legislation.

  4. Provide a comprehensive business plan to show the understanding of the market, competitors in the industry, and other legal requirement to operate the business.

  5. The business is an eligble business. Examples of ineligble businesses include franchise, passive investment, etc.

ACT (Canberra)

The Migration Program of Canberra invites applicants based on their own ranking system - Matrix Points and the quota the Territory allocated to each occupation under their own Occupation List.

Since begining of July 2021, Canberra has introduced the SBO program for both 190 and 491 subclass. The nomination requirements are as follow:


For 491:

  1. The applicant own at least 51% of the business. And the business is not sub-tenancy, car-shared, taxi, delivery, courier, or the business that had been used to receive the state's nomination.

  2. The applicant and dependents must have been residing in Canberra for at least 3 months prior to the Matrix application (unless their dependents are offshore)

  3. If the nominated occupation belong to group level 1 or level 2 of ANZSCO, the applicant must have at least Proficient English Level (at least IELTS 7.0 for all bands, or equivalent).

  4. The applicant is able to claim Matrix point for the category of SBO, that means:

  5. Own at least 51% of a business that has been operating in ACT for at least 6 months from the date of established or purchased immediately prior to the Matrix application.

  6. Annual turnover (revenue) is at least $200,000 (pro rata if the business was established within less than 1 year).

  7. Profitable business.

  8. Immediately prior to the application, the business has paid to the applicant at least $13,000 for 3 months

  9. Employ at least 1 Australian citizen, Australian PR, or New Zealand citizen, working for at least 13 weeks (20 hours and over per week)

  10. Can employ 1 or more employee. No continuous employment required.

  11. The employment follow the requirement from Fair Work.

  12. The employee(s) must be residing in ACT.

190:

  1. The applicant own at least 51% of the business. And the business is not sub-tenancy, car-shared, taxi, delivery, courier, or the business that had been used to receive the state's nomination.

  2. The applicant and dependents must have been residing in Canberra for at least 6 months prior to the Matrix application (unless their dependents are offshore)

  3. If the nominated occupation belong to group level 1 or level 2 of ANZSCO, the applicant must have at least Proficient English Level (at least IELTS 7.0 for all bands, or equivalent).

  4. The applicant is able to claim Matrix point for the category of SBO, that means:

  5. Own at least 51% of a business that has been operating in ACT for at least 6 months from the date of established or purchased immediately prior to the Matrix application.

  6. Annual turnover (revenue) is at least $200,000 (pro rata if the business was established within less than 1 year).

  7. Profitable business.

  8. Immediately prior to the application, the business has paid to the applicant at least $26,000 for 6 months

  9. Employ at least 1 Australian citizen, Australian PR, or New Zealand citizen, working for at least 13 weeks (20 hours and over per week)

  10. Can employ 1 or more employee. No continuous employment required.

  11. The employment follow the requirement from Fair Work.

  12. The employee(s) must be residing in ACT.


Please leave your questions at comment section


Disclaimer:

Australian Migration Law is a complex and fast-changing law area. The article is for general purpose and readers are advised to contact us to receive proper migration advice tailored to your circumstances.





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